Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I hope you'll ask a question, Diane

Diane --

When I ran for this office, I heard from Americans who felt left behind by trade agreements of the past.

It's those people I'm thinking about as I lay out the framework for a new trade agenda that will be guided by one simple principle: putting American workers first.

I've made it clear that I won't sign any agreement that doesn't live up to that.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership we're working on would be the most progressive trade agreement in American history -- with the strongest labor, environmental, and intellectual property standards yet. It's designed to protect jobs and help grow the economy by focusing on working and middle-class families.

This is a complex issue with a lot at stake for Americans, and I want voices like yours to be part of the conversation. On Monday, David Simas, one of my closest advisors, is getting on the phone with OFA supporters to talk more about what this policy means.

Send OFA questions or concerns you have -- and David will get a chance to address as many as he can on Monday's call.

This is a chance to make sure that the United States -- and not a competitor like China -- gets to write the rules for the world economy in the 21st century.

Here's why that matters:

    -- It levels the playing field for American workers. This plan will make it easier to sell goods made in America to some of the most dynamic and fastest-growing markets in the world: 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States.

    -- It reflects American values. All countries that sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership must adopt strict labor rules if they want to send their goods to the United States. That means enforceable regulations to ensure acceptable working conditions, such as a minimum wage, maximum hours, and workplace safety. Workers will have the right to form unions and bargain collectively.

    -- It's good to the environment. This plan goes well beyond protections from past agreements, and contains enforceable commitments to protect our oceans, forests, and endangered wildlife.

For me, it's important that our trade policy is consistent with my top priority as president: making sure that more hard-working Americans have a chance to get ahead.

Exports of American products supported 11.7 million American jobs in 2014 -- those are good, middle-class jobs that pay up to 18 percent more than other jobs. And of the companies that export goods, 98 percent are small businesses.

There's a lot more to talk about, so I hope you'll join the conversation.

Ask a question, or voice your thoughts -- and OFA will collect them for the call on Monday:

Thank you,

Barack Obama

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